December 15, 2012 at 3:02 PM
WEST ORANGE, NJ - There's no better way to welcome in the holiday season than with the annual Old Fashioned Christmas Tree Lighting at Town Hall. After last week's rainout, the weather cooperated Friday evening, and residents enjoyed a special time of community. As guests arrived they sipped hot chocolate and nibbled cookies to help boost their holiday spirit. Following a warm welcome from Mayor Robert Parisi, the evening's festivities began. As the evening progressed there were wonderful performances by dancers from Unique Performing Arts Center. In addition, the West Orange High School Brass Ensemble, conducted by Lewis Kelly, performed several songs. One song in particular caught the ears of Mayor Parisi as he called for a sing-along of Jingle Bells, and led many of the children at the event through the song.
Although the Tree Lighting was at the center of last night's events, West Orange is an incrediby unique and diverse place to live. Other cultural and/or religious celebrations of the holiday season were also represented at Town Hall. The Menorah was lit for Hanukkah and members of the West Orange African American Organization were there to promote and inform residents of the upcoming Kwanza celebration on December 20th. A christian creche, or Nativity Scene, is also on display. Other activities throughout the night included a petting zoo and th sale West Orange Scarves to support town sports. To get more information on purchasing a scarf you can get information on their facebook page; http://www.facebook.com/WOscarf.
After the performances concluded, the tree was lit as the community held a Christmas Tree countdown. It was only moments later that Santa rode into town with the West Orange Fire Department and readied himself in his Town Hall Workshop with his helpers to say hello to the children of West Orange. A West Orange Resident and Volunteer, Connor Vanderhoof, was in high spirits in describing the tree lighting event, saying, “I’ve been attending my whole life and every year I enjoy it which is why I am happy to volunteer.”
Mayor Parisi was happy with last night's celebration and said “it was a great night... one of my favorite nights of the year. As always it’s nice to have the Unique Performance dancers and Brass Ensemble here and it’s great to see a long line of kids waiting to see Santa."